What on Earth did we just witness from a bunch of high school students?
As the crowd shuffled out of the Rotorua Boys' High School War Memorial Hall on opening night on Friday of the joint Rotorua Boys' High School and Rotorua Girls' High School production of Saturday Night Fever, everyone was dumbstruck.
The talent. It blows your mind. These are your kids.
But thumb your way through the programme and it all becomes clear.
There are names in that booklet that come from Rotorua performing royalty and it's no wonder when you sit in your seat lapping up the just over two-hour show, you are taking away to a place where you think you're watching a professional adult production.
I've only got so many words in this review, so let's stick to the performances themselves.
You have to start with the star of the show, Tawhao Webster, playing the lead of Tony. Write that name down. He will be famous. This Year 13 student is a true professional already. His singing, acting, dancing and ability to deliver all those lines without bungling anything is just phenomenal.
He was just one of four talented Websters in this production who all deserve nods. His first cousin Alyssa Webster sent the crowd oohing and ahhing the minute she sang. What a voice.
Another first cousin Teiringatahi Webster-Tarei, played the role of Tony's sister, Linda. Just watch her dance and you'll be transfixed. At just Year 9, she's already proving she's one to watch.
Her brother, Paretoroa Webster-Tarei, probably has the biggest voice of those in the cast and when he walks on the stage, he's got this ability to command your attention through his cheeky manner.
Anipatene Williams playing Monty (DJ) was my standout female performer. This Year 13 student dominates when she sings and acts. Bianca Maaka playing Annette was beautiful and used her soul to show the heartbreak of her character.
The programme book said Jasmine Morrison auditioned for the production to get out of swimming sports. But that backfired when she got the lead role of Stephanie. She had to work to get out of her comfort zone and did a stellar job, presenting her role beautifully.
Max Harvey is well worth a mention for his musical and acting skills - beautiful acoustic guitar playing and his voice is one out of the box. He quickly became a crowd favourite whenever he appeared.
Putting aside the outstanding singing and acting abilities for just a moment, hats off to Rohm Dixon and Ashly Atchico who were incredible with their dance moves.
Show director and choreographer Dean McKerras must be applauded for putting together what must be the slickest secondary school production around.
Yes, he has a cast of individual superstars, but putting it together into a seamless production didn't just happen and I'm sure he's spent countless hours making this show what it is.
He is, of course, lucky to have an incredible backbone of help. The incredible Elisha Hulton was the vocal director who pulled together all these breathtaking songs as well as weaved the chorus numbers with intricate harmonies. Those were not easy notes those kids were hitting and the students didn't skip a beat, showing their taskmaster has an eye for perfection.
For those who might have been fooled, no that wasn't backing tracks playing the music. Despite not skipping a beat or dropping a note, it was in fact a band of teachers and students led by the skilful musical director Cameron Hay and pianist and assistant musical director Rachel Harvey.
Don't sit back and watch this show go without getting a ticket and supporting these youngsters. You won't be disappointed and they deserve to have packed houses every night. Some shows are already sold out so be quick.
What: Saturday Night Fever by Rotorua Boys' High School and Rotorua Girls' High School
When: September 11 to 19
Tickets: $15 each for adults and $5 each for children from RBHS office or the school's website
Reviewed by: Kelly Makiha